The National Education System & the Classification of Educational Institutions

The five Levels of the National Education System (NES)

The NES is made up of five levels of education, which are:-

  1. Pre-school education for children from the ages of four to six years;
  2. Primary education which lasts six years is designed for pupils from the age of six years;
  3. Secondary education is education that caters for pupils who have completed primary education. Secondary education comprises lower secondary (three years) and upper secondary (two years) education;
  4. Post-secondary education is broadly defined by the Education Act 1996 to mean education provided to pupils who have completed upper secondary education but excludes higher education from the term. Post-secondary education in the form of Form 6 is offered in some secondary schools. Another type of post-secondary education offered in a number of government institutions is the one-year matriculation programme. Private institutions offer a wide variety of such programmes from the ubiquitous ‘A’ levels to university foundation programmes that prepares students completing upper secondary education for entrance into a university or other tertiary institution.
  5. Higher education is defined by the Education Act 1996 in terms of the institution that offers the educational programme defined as the ‘course of study’ and the type of award the course of study leads to. The statutory definition of higher education is ‘education provided by a higher education institution’ and a higher educational institution is one that provides higher education leading to the award of a diploma, degree or the equivalent thereof’.